Beef Ribs From Costco? Here’s The Test & What To Know!

There ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of meat from Costco. No wonder it’s become such a staple among BBQer’s and general carnivores.

When it comes to beef ribs, the quality of the cut is certainly felt in the result of the meat at the end. 

Although you can find success with just about any beef rib, you really can make something masterful if you get your hands on the right cut, with the right qualities. 

So, how do beef ribs from Costco stack up? Well, we put it to the test.

Here’s whether Costco beef ribs are good quality, if there’s good for smoking with, and other “good-to-knows” before buying them!

Beef ribs generally come in three main cuts.

Plate Short Ribs, Chuck Short Ribs, and Back Ribs.

Plate ribs have been made famous in Texas, right next to their pride the Texas barbecue brisket. Meaty, fatty, and tender.

Chuck short ribs are less popular but are still worthy of a centerpiece. Slightly meatier but tougher than plate ribs. 

Back ribs are what’s left after the prime rib roast has been removed. But, just as much as the prime rib can be a feast, so can these bad boys.

Costco sells each type of these ribs, but the most popular Costco ribs are the beef short ribs. 

Are Costco Beef Ribs Good Quality?

What is it when we talk about beef rib quality?

Sure, you can choose to buy platinum standard, premium, beef ribs from hand-fed cattle from mount Everest if you want to. But, what you really want is consistency, good flavor, tenderness, and some good meat on them!

Depending on your budget and occasion, Costco offers both beef short ribs in Choice (medium) grade, and Prime (best) grade cuts. 

The good news? Both grades are absolutely amazing, and if you’re smoking them or cooking them low and slow properly they both turn out delectable. So much so that I normally just go for Choice grade.

The bone-in beef short ribs, in particular, they’re exactly what you want for a casual Saturday barbecue. 

Are Costco Beef Ribs Good For Smoking?

I’m not going to play games with you here. So, I went out and I got the real deal. Two bone-in Choice beef short ribs and prepped them for smoking.

Although these two that I picked up were rather small, they cooked consistently, have a good amount of marbling, were tender as ever, and I was able to get a killer smoke ring and bark. The verdict: Costco beef ribs are good for smoking.

There could have been a bit more meat to them, but Costco does offer different sizes and weights, so you can adjust your portion size accordingly.

Everything You Need To Know About Costco Beef Ribs

When it comes to shopping for Costco beef ribs, there’s a few things to keep in mind and look out for to optimize your chances of pure deliciousness.

These are, the the weight and size of the rib, the grading, the marbling, the membrane, and ready-to-cook beef short ribs. You want to check the freshness too!

Here’s everything you need to know when you’re looking for a good Costco beef rib.

Weight And Size

Conveniently, Costco does stock different weights and sizes of beef ribs, so you can always find one to suit your needs.

You can find full plates or packs with 4, 3, and even 2 ribs. 

Most commonly you’ll find the ribs sold in three plates weighing about 5lb. These seem to be a perfect size for a normal family dinner. They’re the most popular for this reason.

Just be sure you get about 2 beef ribs per person to be safe, depending on the thickness and weight of the rib.

The Grade

There are technically three USDA grades of beef, Select grade (low) Choice grade (medium, and Prime grade (best).

You’ll normally find that Costco only provides the middle ground, Choice grade, and the best, Prime grade.

Really, you can smoke or slow-cook each grade to an incredible result. But generally, the Prime grade becomes more tender and flavorful, due to the higher fat content and distribution. The same can be said for Costco briskets.

The Marbling

Though there’s normally a clear difference between the marbling of a choice grade and prime grade beef rib, you should still notice natural differences between beef ribs of the same grade.

So, whether you’re looking at choice or prime, make sure to pick up and look at a few packs of ribs. Optionally, you can mumble under your breath “that looks nice” when you pick the one with the better marbling.

The Membrane

Ribs often come with a tough, rubbery membrane on their backside, underneath the bone plate. Although there’s nothing wrong with leaving it on when you smoke or slow cook your ribs, you certainly don’t want a mouthful of it when it comes time to eat!

Costco beef ribs come with this membrane attached. To remove it, simply drive a butter knife under the thin membrane and pull it out enough to grab hold with a paper towel, and gently tear it from the rib.

Getting Ready-to-Cook Short Ribs

By now you might have seen pre-seasoned, ready-to-cook short ribs at Costco. 

Although pre-marinated products can cut the hassle, you are taking a gamble with the flavors to come. I say that not because they’re not delicious, but often they won’t deliver on your truest desires, especially if you plan to smoke them!

The benefit? Well, it’s super convenient, and there can be some pretty good-looking pre-marinated ribs, like smoky BBQ or Korean BBQ.


Just like at the local grocer, Costco beef ribs are pre-packaged, shipped, and served at your location. This doesn’t mean the meat itself isn’t fresh. But, it does mean the meat you see in front of you may have had different processing dates.

Take a look at the use-by date. If there are two equally good-looking beef ribs, always choose the way with the longest date as it’s an indication that it’s fresher than the other!

It’s Go Time

Costco’s selection of barbecue meats is certainly underrated. I’ll come out and say it, Costco beef ribs can be just as good as what you find at the local butcher!

If you’re looking for luxury, grab a prime graded, plate of short ribs and you’ll ditch the dreams of a fancy house and car. Believe me, there’s nothing better.

Still, unlike at the butcher where the qualities are generally great and the meat is fresh, you can be more selective about it at Costco. 

Always check the use-by date as a measure of its freshness (and choose the one with the longest date!), compare marbling between a few, and ensure you get your desired cut and weight.

Otherwise? Well, happy days!

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